Over my life I have experienced the heartache of suicide from many different angles. The first time I had an encounter with suicide was when I was 16 years old and learned that a childhood friend of mine was on the McCullough Bridge, threatening to jump. I could not comprehend at the time how this friend of mine who I used to play with when I was younger was so distraught that he wanted to end his life. I was so sad for him, but luckily he decided to live.
As a mental health therapist by profession, I was trained on how to deal with depressed, suicidal individuals but found quickly in my career that I was drawn to working with kids and adults who are in active crisis. This led me to work in several different emergency departments and mobile crisis teams with a specific aim of preventing suicide and arranging for appropriate emergency treatment.
As a parent, I have helped raise two daughters who have been victims of sexual assault. Through their extensive trauma history, both of my daughters have attempted suicide and been hospitalized. This has brought me even closer to the plight of those who have lost hope and felt that only death could ease their pain. I am happy to report that both of my daughters are doing well today.
Finally, I have experienced sorrow, pain and fear personally and due to overwhelming circumstances I have felt extreme despair which has also caused me to weigh the option to keep fighting or to succumb to the urge to leave this world behind and take my life. Even as a trained therapist who knows coping skills and mechanisms to overcome suicidal thoughts, I too have found myself with my life hanging in the balance.
My hope is that my work with AFSP’s Oregon chapter will not only serve as an encouragement to others, but I will strive to bring resources to the dark corners of our state in an effort to tackle this deadly threat head on. Even one life saved is worth all the resources and effort we can muster.